The Ultimate In-Depth TBC Stealth Guide
Widely known as a Rogue ability, Stealth allows players (or NPCs) to sneak around undetected. Stealth can also be used by Druids in cat form (Prowl). In this guide, we’ll do some theorycrafting to understand how this ability works in-depth and how it is affected by another ability, Vanish.
According to wow.gamepedia, “the chance of detection increases as you get closer, but also depends on the camera angle (stand right in front of an enemy and you can guarantee they’ll see you), relative levels, and/or any perception/subtlety modifiers.”
Detection vs. Subtlety
The rule of Stealth is simple: the closer you are to your target, the higher the probability that you will be detected.
This formula is based on two factors that rule how Stealth functions:
– Subtlety, a score of stealth effectiveness
– Detection, a player/NPC’s score that allows them to detect a stealthed enemy
Subtlety, like Detection, increases 5 points with each level.
This means that:
– a level 70 Rogue has a score of 350 (70*5) Subtlety
– all players have a detection score of 350
‘Elusiveness’ racial trait (Night Elf) improves that player’s Subtlety level by +5.
You cannot find this trait in your spellbook, however, during patch 3.0.2, Blizzard confirmed the ability’s existence since release, leading to an interesting argument when choosing your race.
By default, a level 70 player will be able to see a stealthed unit from 5 yards away, with every 5 incremental points of Stealth corresponding to one incremental yard. In addition to this, Night Elves have one extra yard.
The difference between Subtlety and Detection determines the distance that a Rogue could be spotted.
How Do You Improve Your Rogue’s Subtlety Score?
First of all, you need to know that Stealth caps at 1-yard minimum.
You can play with a Stealth score of 1000 but your enemy will still be able to see you one yard away. This also explains some specific situations where a rogue could be spotted during vanish. In other words, you have to make sure to be at least two-yards away to safely use Vanish
This means that you don’t need to stack more than +20 bonus Stealth talent/items against a player that has not increased his Stealth detection.
Play Night Elf for an additional passive +5 subtlety.
As a Rogue, you must specialize into the talent Master of Deception. It grants your Rogue a +3 bonus of Subtlety for each point (up to 5 points).
Having 5/5 in the talent Master of Deception can translate into:
– Increases your Stealth level, through an additional +15 points to your Subtlety score
For example: 350 (base) + 15 (bonus) = 365 Subtlety score for a level 70 rogue (370 with Night Elf bonus)
– A Stealth score of 365 is equivalent to a level 73 versus a level 70 player.
– A 3-yard reduction versus level 70 enemy without any detection improvement.
Figurine – Shadowsong Panther grants an additional +1 to your Stealth level which means:
– +5 to your Subtlety score
– A 1-yard detection reduction versus enemies
This is one of the reasons why Jewelcrafting is a good profession for rogue on TBC.
Playing with those two choices (5/5 Master of Deception + Shadowsong Panther) increases your Stealth score by +20. Stacking more would be overkill at some point unless you also want to avoid human enemy rogues with Perception (+50 detection).
Vanish also improves your Subtlety level significantly (+60) for 10 seconds.
According to the game’s database, the correct values are :
– Stealth (Rank 4) acquired at level 60, has a base value of 300 (+5 per level after level 60) → 300 + (70-60)*5 = 350
– Vanish (Rank 3) acquired at level 62, has a base value of 370 (+5 per level after level 62) → 370 + (70-62)*5 = 410
This why pre-Vanishing can be a good way to counterplay Perception or paranoia (until the last yard). But if you use Shadowstep on a Warlock to sap him, his Fellhunter will likely be able to detect you if you are in his cone of vision.
How to detect stealthed rogue players?
As detailed above, one of the main factors in detecting a stealthed unit (be it players or NPCs) is the Human racial trait Perception but there are a few more options.
SPELLS & TALENT
A level 70 player’s Stealth Detection score is increased by +50 when Perception is activated. This would give you a total Detection score of 400, including the 350 base score. This means you gain an extra +10 yards to detect an enemy that has no Stealth bonus equipment. (5 yards from base skill and 10 yards from Perception = 15 yards). However, it is often the case in PvP that you will face Rogue opponents using 5/5 Master of Deception (+15 Stealth score) decreasing the distance you will be able to detect them by 3 yards. Despite this, 7 yards is still a significant advantage and, usually, you would want to use engineering goggles (like X11 or X44) which further increases your detection score by +5 (incremental 1-yard of detection).
Through the Heightened Sense Talent (2/2) in the Subtlety tree, you can gain an additional +6 to your Detection score (equating to 1 to 2 yards)
If you play Rogue/Warlock in arenas, your partner’s Felhunter will buff you with Paranoia. This ability provides a +30 bonus to the Detection scores of all party members within 30 yards of the Felhunter! I’ll let you do the maths if you pair both Lock’s pet buff and the Human Racial trait… now you understand what made this combination so popular back then.
A popular TBC video demonstrates this; make sure to check NerfSap10 by Happyminti after you are done reading this guide.
Another solution explained before is to pre-Vanish but this does not eliminate all risk. If you want to sap an enemy during Vanish mode, please do it from max range.
Listing of items and talents affecting Stealth and detection (SPREADSHEET)
|Boots of Displacement||8||Naxx||16%||Gothik||60||Incr. Stealth|
|Darkmantle Boots||8||DaMa||Q||SC Upgrade Quest||60||Incr. Stealth|
|The Master’s Treads||5||R||67-68||Random World Drop||68||Incr. Stealth|
|Silent-Strider Kneeboots||5||HR-H||7%||Omor the Unscarred||70||Incr. Stealth|
|Whisperwalk Boots||5||RHM||Q||Ravenholdt Q Reward||50||Incr. Stealth|
|Nightscape Boots||5||LW||235||LW Trainer Recipe||42||Incr. Stealth|
|Figurine – Shadowsong Panther||5||JC||375||SW Recipe Drop||70||320 AP 15s/Stl|
|Figurine – Nightseye Panther||5||JC||370||Cen Exp Rev Recipe||70||320 AP 12s/Stl|
|Figurine – Black Pearl Panther||3||JC||215||JC Vendor Recipe||38||Stlth,90AP15s|
|Enchant Cloak – Stealth||5||AQ||R||Boss Drop Recipe|
|ROGUE SKILLS & TALENTS||Stealth||Loc||Info||Source||Lv||Special|
|Stealth (Rank 4)||350||Rogue||Skill||Rogue Class Skill||60||-30% Movement|
|Vanish (Rank 3)||60||Rogue||Skill||Rogue Class Skill||62||10s Dur / 5m CD|
|Master of Deception (Rank 1)||3||Rogue||Talent||Tier 1 Subtlety Talent||10|
|Master of Deception (Rank 2)||6||Rogue||Talent||Tier 1 Subtlety Talent||11|
|Master of Deception (Rank 3)||9||Rogue||Talent||Tier 1 Subtlety Talent||12|
|Master of Deception (Rank 4)||12||Rogue||Talent||Tier 1 Subtlety Talent||13|
|Master of Deception (Rank 5)||15||Rogue||Talent||Tier 1 Subtlety Talent||14|
|Sneaking Potion||30||Alch||315||Vendor Recipe||50||1m Dur/ 2m CD|
|Stealth of the Stalker||8||BEM||Q||BEM Quest Reward||65||5m Duration|
|NIGHT ELF RACIALS||Stealth||Loc||Info||Source||Lv||Special|
|Shadowmeld Passive||5||NE||Racial||Night Elf Racial Ability||1|
|Shadowmeld (Active)||???||NE||Racial||Night Elf Racial Ability||1|
|DRUID SKILLS & TALENTS||Stealth||Loc||Info||Source||Lv||Special|
|Prowl (Rank 3)||300||Druid||Skill||Cat Form Stealth||60||-30% Movement|
|Feral Instinct (Rank 1)||5||Druid||Talent||Tier 2 Feral Combat||15|
|Feral Instinct (Rank 2)||10||Druid||Talent||Tier 2 Feral Combat||16|
|Feral Instinct (Rank 3)||15||Druid||Talent||Tier 2 Feral Combat||17|
|Hyper-Vision Goggles||30||Eng||360||Engineering Recipe||50||15s Dur / 2m CD|
|Catseye Ultra Goggles||18||Eng||220||World Drop Recipe||?||Stealth Detect|
|The Night Watchman||10||R||69-71||Random World Drop||70||Incr St detect|
|Bloodvine Lens||10||Eng||300||Vendor||60||Stealth Detect|
|Quad Deathblow X44 Goggles||5||Eng||?||Upgrade Recipe||70||Meta Socket,etc.|
|Deathblow X11 Goggles||5||Eng||350||Engineering Recipe||50||Meta Socket,etc.|
|ROGUE SKILLS & TALENTS||Detect||Loc||Info||Source||Lv||Special|
|Heightened Senses (Rank 1)||3||Rogue||Talent||Tier 5 Talent||30|
|Heightened Senses (Rank 2)||6||Rogue||Talent||Tier 5 Talent||31|
|Elixir of the Searching Eye||15||Alch||325||World Drop Recipe||55||10 Min Duration|
|Distilled Stalker Sight||15||BEM||Q||BEM Quest Reward||65||10 Min Duration|
|Catseye Elixir||10||Alch||200||Alch Trainer||30||10 Min Duration|
|Perception (Humans)||50||Human||Racial||Human Racial Ability||1||20s Dur / 3m CD|
|Hunter’s Track Hidden||Hunter’s Track Hidden||Hunter||Skill||Hunter Class Skill||24||Minimap icons|
|Warlock Felhunter’s Paranoia||30||Warlock||Skill||Warlock Class Skill||42||Party buff|
|Druid PVP Gloves||10||Druid||PVP||Druid PVP Rewards||60|
Thanks to Shadowpanther.net for the spreadsheets.